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Primary Source: Hanover Democrat, Claremont Republican Vie for N.H. Senate Seat

  • Martha Hennessey is a candidate for the Senate District 5 seat. (Jon Gilbert Fox photograph)

  • Marie Lozito is a candidate for the Senate Dstrict 5 seat. (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/18/2016 12:25:50 AM
Modified: 6/18/2016 12:26:36 AM

West Lebanon — Voters in New Hampshire’s Senate District 5 will have a clear political and geographic choice come November.

A progressive Democrat from Hanover is running against a conservative Republican from Claremont in the contest to succeed state Sen. David Pierce, the Lebanon Democrat who is stepping down this summer as he moves out of the district for family reasons.

Although no Republican filed for the seat by last week’s deadline, the GOP nominated Marie Lozito, a Claremont resident who is secretary of Sullivan County Republcans, by the Wednesday deadline to fill such vacancies.

The 66-year-old Lozito, a registered nurse at Mt. Ascutney Hospital who also has a massage therapy practice, said the candidate who Republicans thought would run had opted not to at the last minute, so she agreed to seek the seat.

“I think when you vote, it’s important to have choices,” she said on Friday. “I think it’s important because people have different beliefs and want different things done with government, and all the rules and regulations and benefits of government.”

Lozito, who moved to Claremont from Long Island in 2008,  is running against state Rep. Martha Hennessey, a Hanover Democrat whose Senate candidacy was endorsed by prominent Democrats throughout the district, which is comprised of Lyme, Hanover, Lebanon, Enfield, Canaan, Plainfield, Cornish, Claremont and Charlestown.

“There are an awful lot of issues I’m interested in. Most of them fall under the category of looking after New Hampshire children and families,” said Hennessey, a 62-year-old Hanover native who is a psychologist.

The two candidates differ greatly on the issues. Lozito, who was a supporter of Texas Republican Ted Cruz, says  “I can’t support Hillary Clinton, so that leaves me with Mr. (Donald) Trump. I’m not sure how I feel about him at times. He’s certainly going to shake up the establishment. That’s a positive in my mind, because it’s very elitist.”

Hennessey is a Hillary Clinton supporters who has worked on civil rights and LGBT issues.

On Planned Parenthood funding, Lozito said she wouldn’t fund the group, which provides reproductive and other health care services for women, saying, “Birth control is quite affordable … I think that’s the responsibility of the people engaging in the activity.”

And, on abortion, Lozito said, “I would not want to see it go back to what it was when I was young, but I wish it was more restricted. I wish people wouldn’t use it as a method of birth control, because it is a baby you are killing.”

Hennessey, on the other hand, said, “I’m very much in favor of returning to Planned Parenthood funding, because I believe Planned Parenthood is a major source of women’s health care, and I … think it was atrocious that funding was taken away.”

She also is a strong supporter of abortion rights. “Absolutely,” Hennessey said. “I believe it’s up to a woman to have her own choice regarding reproductive decisions.”

On gun rights, a major issue after the massacre at Pulse nighclub in Orlando, Fla., Hennessey said she is a “strong advocate for gun control, particularly the banning of assault weapons and closing the gun show loophole, and also I’m very much in favor of waiting periods for gun purchases.”

For her part, Lozito said she does not believe new restrictions on gun purchases are necessary.

“I’m very pro-Second Amendment, and quite honestly, I think had somebody in that nightclub been carrying and knew how to handle a weapon, there would have been a lot of people who didn’t die,” Lozito said. “When you have a bad person with a gun, what you need is a good person with a gun to stop them.”

The field is also set in other New Hampshire Senate races representing the Upper Valley.

In Senate District 2, which includes several Haverhill-area towns, state Rep. Brian Gallagher, R-Sanbornton, and former state Rep. Bob Giuda, R-Warren, will face off in a GOP primary. The winner will run against Democrat Charlie Chandler, a retired attorney from Warren, N.H. 

And in the Newport-area District 8 seat, where Weare Republican Jerry Little recently stepped down to become banking commissioner, Republicans Jim Beard, of Lempster, and Ruth Ward, of Stoddard, are in a primary. The winner will face Democrat John Garvey, a New London attorney.

Other N.H. Races

The filings at the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office indicate several other primaries are taking shape.

Grafton County Commissioner Mike Cryans, D-Hanover, is giving up that seat to challenge Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, R-Wakefield. But Kenney himself faces a challenge from Orford Republican Paul Carreiro. (More on this election in an upcoming Valley News.)

In turn, state Rep. Wendy Piper, D-Enfield, is giving up her legislative seat to run for Cryans’ county commissioner seat.

But also running as a Democrat is Ralph Akins, a former Lebanon mayor and state representative, setting up a primary. No Republicans filed for the seat.

In the Haverhill-area county commission seat, Republicans Randy Subjeck, of Piermont, and Stephen Whitney, of Bath, have filed to run. The winner will face incumbent Linda Lauer, D-Bath.

For the Plymouth-area county commissioner seat, Plymouth Democrat Bill Bolton and former Commissioner Omer Ahern Jr., R-Plymouth, are on the ballot.

Meanwhile, Lebanon City Councilor Karen Liot Hill, a Democrat, and Haverhill Republican Barbara Dutile, a GOP activist, are both running for Grafton County treasurer. And, yes, Lebanon Republican Bill Sharp is running, yet again, in a bid to reclaim the seat he lost to Register of Deeds Kelley Monahan, D-Orford.

On the legislative side, with Piper giving up her seat, Enfield Democrats Roger Dontonville and Linda Spencer-Green are in a primary for the Grafton 10 House seat, with Mike Lorrey, R-Enfield, also running.

The four Democrats running to represent Hanover and Lyme in the four-seat Grafton 12 district — state Reps. Sharon Nordgren and Patricia Higgins and newcomers Mary Jane Mulligan and Polly Campion — will face no GOP opposition.

Lebanon’s four Democratic House lawmakers — Susan Almy, Andy White, George Sykes and Richard Abel — are running again. The only Republican running in the Grafton 13 district is Michael Balog.

On the federal front, John Babiarz, a Grafton libertarian who has run statewide before, will be on the ballot in November running for U.S. representative in the seat now held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster. Republican Jack Flanagan, R-Brookline, who is running in a GOP primary to challenge Kuster, released the names of 50 lawmakers backing his candidacy, including state Rep. Rick Ladd, R-Haverhill.

And in Vermont …

Springfield, Vt., Democrats are sponsoring a forum next week featuring the five candidates running to be governor on the Democratic ballot. Former state Sens. Matt Dunne and Peter Galbraith and former Transportation Secretary Sue Minter will be at the forum on Thursday, June 23, at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Springfield, Vt., at 77 Main St.

Former state Rep. Ernie Shand, D-Weathersfield, will moderate the forum, which includes two fringe candidates also on the ballot.

John Gregg can be reached at

Valley News

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